chapter 3

chapter 3 - The medium of sound recording has had an...

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1 • The medium of sound recording has had an immense impact on our culture. The music that helps to shape our identities and comfort us during the transition from childhood to adulthood resonates throughout our lives. It stirs debate among parents and teenagers, teachers and students, politicians and performers. • Throughout its history, popular music has been banned by parents, business outlets, radio stations, school officials, and even governments seeking to protect young people from the raw language and corrupting excesses of the music world. – “If people knew what this stuff was about, we’d probably all get arrested.” –Bob Dylan, 1966, talking about rock and roll From Wax Cylinders to Flat Disks: Sound Recording Becomes a Mass Medium …a key breakthrough came from Emile Berliner, a German engineer who had immigrated to America. In the late 1880s, he began using a flat spinning five- inch disk to trace voices. Through a photo-engraving process, he recorded the sounds onto disks made of metal and shellac. These disks became the first records. Berliner also developed a technique that enabled him to stamp and mass-produce his round records. Previously, using Edison’s cylinder, performers had to play or sing into the speaker for each separate recording. Berliner’s technique featured a master recording from which copies could be easily duplicated in mass quantities.
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2 • In 1948, CBS Records introduced the 33 1/3-revolutions-per-minute (rpm) long- playing record (LP), with about twenty minutes of music on each side. This was an improvement over the three to four minutes of music contained on the existing 78-rpm records. The next year, RCA developed a competing 45-rpm record, featuring a quarter-size hole (best suited for jukebox use). From Audiotape to CDs and DVDs: Analog Goes Digital audiotape: lightweight magnetized strands of ribbon that make possible sound editing and multiple- track mixing; instrumentals or vocals can be recorded at one location and later mixed onto a master recording in another studio. • In 1958, engineers developed stereophonic sound, or stereo , which eventually made monophonic (one-track) records obsolete. • The biggest recording advancement came in the 1970s, when electrical engineer Thomas Stockham developed digital recording , in which music is played back by laser beam rather than by needle or magnetic tape. • This technique began replacing Edison’s analog recording technique, which merely captured the fluctuations of the original sound waves and stored those signals on records or cassettes as a continuous stream of magnetization— analogous to the actual sound. Incorporating purer, more precise digital techniques (which do not add noise during recording and editing sessions), compact discs , or CDs , hit the market in 1983.
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3 Records and Radio: First Hate, Then Love, Then Component Marriages • To the alarm of the sound recording industry, radio stations had begun broadcasting recorded music, but without any
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chapter 3 - The medium of sound recording has had an...

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